Science

Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury

Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury”

The European Space Agency's (ESA) first mission to Mercury blasts off with a trio of craft heading to the planet closest to the Sun.

The spacecraft is slated to launch October 19 at 9:45 p.m. ET from the French Guiana on the European workhorse rocket Ariane 5.

And while it has one of the world's most powerful launch vehicles in the Atlas V rocket, it will still require a seven-year journey to enter orbit around Mercury rather than the Sun.

One of the mission's greatest challenges will be the sun's enormous gravity, which makes it hard to place a spacecraft into a stable orbit around Mercury. This route will take it on flybys of Earth, Venus twice, and Mercury six times before dropping into Mercury's orbit.

The BepiColombo mission is being carried out jointly by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

"BepiColombo is one of the most complex interplanetary missions we have ever flown", says Andrea Accomazzo, ESA Flight Director for BepiColombo.

BepiColombo comprises of two orbiters: one European and the other Japanese, which will circle the planet while mapping and probing its surface and enveloping magnetic field.

Those probes will roam Mercury for a year before sending their findings back to Earth.

After arriving at Mercury, the modules will separate and from their respective orbits the science orbiters will make complementary measurements of Mercury's interior, surface, exosphere and magnetosphere, following up on numerous open questions raised by NASA's Messenger mission. Mercury's almost non-existent atmosphere also means that the planet itself will be giving off extremely hot temperatures, pinning the obiters in a "heat sandwich" for most of their lifespan.

A seven-year, eight-million-kilometer voyage expected to shed light on the mysteries of Mercury, the solar system's least-understood planet, is almost ready for takeoff. The mission also hopes to study the solar wind, Mercury's inner structure, and how Mercury interacts with the area around the sun.

It is possible to directly reach Mercury in a matter of months, but the speed picked up by a spacecraft falling into the Sun's deep gravity would make it very hard to stop at the planet, the BBC report said. ESA, JAXA and Airbus worked together to set the scientific objectives of the mission, a basis that was then used to develop the BepiColombo research satellite. "To understand how Earth was formed, we need to understand how all rocky planets formed". What can the planet closest to the Sun tell us about how our solar system came into being?

The European Space Agency (ESA) first proposed a mission to explore Mercury in 1993.

For a chance to see the BepiColombo mission launch live, watch the livestream here, in the embedded video player below. It was he who proposed the NASA trajectory that allowed Mariner 10 to fly by the planet.

Until 1985, an engineer figured out the path that a spacecraft should take to reach Mercury. NASA's Mariner 10 made three brief fly-bys in the 1970s, and the U.S. space agency's Messenger orbiter circled the planet between March 2011 and April 2015, when it ran out of fuel and crashed onto Mercury's surface.

BepiColombo is made up of two different spacecraft with two very different jobs.



Like this

loading...
loading...

Latest


24 October 2018
Not Exercising Is Worse for Your Health Than Smoking, Says Study
Compared to those in the top percentile those with sedentary lifestyles were associated with 500% increased risk for death. Women seemed to benefit more in terms of health when they included exercise in their routines.

24 October 2018
Vintage Plane Crashes Onto 101 Freeway In Agoura Hills
The aircraft - a North American SNJ-5 - is owned by Condor Squadron Officer's and Airmen's Association, according to the FAA. There was no damage to any vehicles, but the crash intensified traffic about 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.

24 October 2018
HTC Launches a Blockchain Smartphone - What Does it Offer?
It is pre-installed with decentralised apps built on top of blockchain, such as the ethereum-based pet rearing game CryptoKitties. In terms of specs , smartphone sports a 6-inch 18:9 notch screen, 8-megapixel selfie camera, and 12-megapixel main camera.

24 October 2018
Mega Millions drawing on Tuesday, Oct. 23
They had just passed a lottery billboard with the latest Mega Millions jackpot, he told lottery officials. At Holiday gas station in Escanaba, the business sold over $700 in Mega Million tickets by 1 p.m.

24 October 2018
Dyson to make electric cars in Singapore
The company revealed its intention to build electric cars a year ago , joining the growing list of vehicle firms moving towards EVs.

24 October 2018
6 kids dead in adenovirus outbreak at N.J. hospital
The health department says " minor handwashing deficiencies" were found at the facility on Sunday. Officials say that this strain is typically associated with a disease in communal living spaces.

24 October 2018
ATP Stockholm: Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Ernests Gulbis for maiden ATP crown
That win for Monfils booked a final against top seed Kyle Edmund , who defeated 2016 champion Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4. Interestingly, the Greek became the first player who managed to beat Gulbis in the final of the ATP tournament.

24 October 2018
Titanic II could embark in 2022
The ship's launch date has been moved from 2018 to 2022, which means the Titanic II will launch 110 years after the RMS Titanic. He said the plan is for ship to sail from Dubai to Southampton, where it will begin its Southampton-New York runs.

24 October 2018
Meghan Markle Opens Up About Pregnancy
The source reportedly said that the word normal "looms large for Harry and Meghan when it comes to their child's future". On day five of the royal tour , she stepped out with Prince Harry in Sydney to open the newly renovated Anzac Memorial.

23 October 2018
NASA captures incredible image of near-perfect rectangle iceberg off Antarctic Peninsula
She said: "We get two types of icebergs". "What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks nearly like a square", she added. This berg hasn't been measured yet, but Brunt says it's about one mile across, which isn't not particularly large.